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Sunday, June 12, 2011
Belichick chats it up at '86 reunion

By Mike Reiss

Ohm Youngmisuk, who covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com, takes teamwork to another level in passing along Patriots coach Bill Belichick's comments from this morning's 25-year reunion of the Super Bowl champion 1986 New York Giants.

From a Patriots perspective, Belichick touched on how his experience as a Giants assistant came in handy before New England's Super Bowl upset over the Rams in the 2001 season.

The soundbites from Belichick:

On the reunion: "It was awesome, 25 years… special group. Great to see everybody."

What made the group unique: "Unselfish. It was a very competitive group. They loved to practice, they played hard. They did what they had to do to win. We had a lot of great players and they fed off each other."

How many he'd seen since '86: "A third, maybe? A half? I see a lot of these guys [but] there’s plenty of them I haven’t seen."

How being an assistant in 2 Super Bowls helped as a head coach: "It definitely helps to be in a big game and to have won them. You learn something every day, every game. Each year is a learning year, it is a long process. But having done it, then to go to the Super Bowl in ’01, having been there on a short week like we did [with the Giants], you are not going in there blind. You know what you are dealing with. I think that helps. And if you can convey that confidence to everybody else -- 'Look, I’ve been there, I know what we need to do' -- then maybe that comforts them a little bit. So there certainly is a lot of benefit to it."

What the '86 Giants taught him most that he still uses today: "Honestly, I think I learned something from every guy. Again, as a group, we played team football. Our defense understood the team concept. The corners knew what the linebackers were doing. The linebackers knew what the nose guard was doing. The nose guard knew it. They understood the team concept. I learned from Jim Burt, George Martin, Perry, Lawrence, Pepper, Carl, Mark Collins … all those guys. They had different styles, different things worked for them better than some other guys. There were things that Leonard could do that George couldn’t do, vice-versa. Jim Burt, Erik Howard, I mean, can you imagine two nose guards like that? Can you imagine Pepper Johnson not in the starting lineup? Our depth with Byron and Andy was remarkable really, how much talent we had defensively, particularly on the front seven. So I learned one thing -- they'll make you a good coach."